Trainer Helen Page admits that having a runner in the 2014 Queensland Derby is a dream come true and is hoping that Rudy can give her the biggest win of her training career in the Group 1 event this weekend.
Page won the 2004 Golden Rose Stakes with Doonan, when it was worth $1 million but not considered a Group race, and she took out the Listed Phelan Ready Plate with Double Heart (2008) and Jantzen (2009), but is chasing her maiden win at Group 1 level in the Queensland Derby.
The Gold Coast-based trainer told Racing Ahead that Rudy was the first horse that she had even nominated for a Derby and is delighted with the way that the Red Dazzler gelding has performed since making his racing debut in June last year.
“It is fantastic and has been a bit of a dream come true,” Page said.
“He is the first horse that I have ever nominated for a Derby and for my owners, who bred and reared the horse themselves, I think that it is just a bit of a dream.
“He has always shown that he is above average and he has trained on nicely.
“He has always shown that he can get over ground and that is why we set him for this journey.”
Rudy stamped himself as a horse to watch by taking out the Hardy Brothers Jewellers Handicap (1100m) at Doomben on November 30 last year and started his autumn campaign with two straight victories before stepping-up to Group level with a third place finish in the Gunsynd Classic (1600m) at Eagle Farm on April 26.
The three-year-old was caught wide in the Group 3 Rough Habit Plate (2000m) at Doomben on May 10, but still managed to finish fifth and finished a luckless third, after being relegated a place on protest, in the Group 3 Grand Prix Stakes (2200m) at Doomben on May 24.
Page said that Rudy had come out of the Grand Prix Stakes in excellent condition and believes that the tough gelding could have finished closer to the winner in the Group 3 event, if he had received clear running in the final stages of the race.
“I am very pleased,” Page said.
“He has trained on well since the Grand Prix and I am very happy with him.
“I have just lengthened his work out and he has relaxed and is doing it very nicely.
“He is a good eater and he is just thriving at the moment.”
Rudy’s 2014 Queensland Derby odds have drifted out to a quote of $15 after he drew barrier 20 for the Group 1 event, while Vilanova ($4.60) and Pinstripe Lane ($4.60) remain locked in a battle for favouritism.